i see where you're coming from, but your argument (or observation) kind of assumes that 99% of the population has an "easy" life while, those with hardship (divorce, death, etc.) got involved with tattoos. i think that's a horrible assumption. life is hard, period. for EVERYONE. most people deal with addiction, disease, death, divorce, violence, poverty, etc., etc., etc. that's just life. life is hard in general, no matter who you are or where you come from. i know lots of people who had amazing childhoods and steady households and became heavily tattooed. a lot of times, it has to do with 100% confidence/satisfaction in yourself and who you are. i know i've always been a very visual person, since i can remember, and pictures and icons have always just attracted me. there's no "us" vs. "them" in this, we're all human, so we all have shit to deal with. which goes into the other part of your post...tattooing is universal in human history. we might not have a super recent or super direct tattoo rite, but we all have it, just being human and having all evolved and spread all over this earth from the same original group of homosapiens. it's why tattoo imagery is popular on clothing or anything else, the icons are universal human emotion. one of the things i love about tattoos is that life is all there...love hate death beauty violence. it's really not that mysterious homie!